Sep 16, 2010

Israel FDC on "150 Years Outside Jerusalem's Old City"

First Day Cover
Sobrescrito de 1.º Dia


150 Years Outside Jerusalem's Old City

Date of Issue : 25 August 2010

Until the 1850’s, nearly all Jerusalem residents lived within the Old City walls.

In the mid 1850’s a number of initiatives began to take shape, proposing that residents leave the Old City and build in the vacant areas surrounding its walls. One of these initiatives was led by Sir Moshe Montefiore, the Jewish British philanthropist.

During three earlier visits to Jerusalem, Montefiore witnessed the difficult housing situation and lack of livelihood suffered by the city’s Jews. In 1855, during his fourth visit to Jerusalem, Montefiore purchased a large tract of land to the west of the Old City and build a residential neighborhood for Jerusalem’s poor.

In 1857 a windmill was erected at the edge of the site, to serve as a source of income for neighborhood residents. Some 20 2-room flats were then built on the land, as were two synagogues – Ashkenazi and Sephardic – and a Mikva (ritual bath). The flats were built within a single long building in order to increase residents’ sense of security and to make it easier to protect. A sign featuring the name of the neighborhood, “Mishkenot Sha’ananim” was placed atop the building. The drawing that appears on the stamp was adapted from an etching published in 1874 in a book by Englishman Reverend Samuel Manning.

The Mishkenot Sha’ananim project served as an example to the Jews of Jerusalem and in subsequent years many residents organized to establish other Jewish neighborhoods outside the Old City walls. The first day cover features a list of nine Jewish neighborhoods that were founded in the first wave, which continued through the 1870’s. The FDC also features the stamp of the “Moshe Montefiore Company”, which was founded in order to continue developing the rest of the land upon which Mishkenot Sha’ananim was built.

Mishkenot Sha’ananim currently serves as an international cultural and conference center in Jerusalem, established by the Jerusalem Foundation. The center hosts artistic and cultural activities, in the spirit of dialog, tolerance and pluralism.

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